November was a great reading month for me, especially after not so great reading months in September and October.
I ended up reading fourteen books. I think that is my best reading months in years.
I read a lot of nonfiction and backlist books. Normally at least fifty percent of the books I read are nonfiction. However, this will not be the case for 2021.
I have read a lot of backlist books this year, which is good since my reading challenge for this year is to read backlist books, but I think when the year ends my nonfiction reads will be close to twenty five percent. And that is fine. Some years are like that.
The good thing about fiction is that they are usually quicker reads for me. That means I read more books. In November, I read several Christmas books, which I read in just a day or two.
A couple of the nonfiction books that I did read ended up being great reads. I might not have had a lot of them, but they were good ones.
I hope you find a book or two to add to your to be read list.
Backlist Books November
The Noel Diary, published in 2017, is a good Hallmark movie style read. If you like Hallmark Christmas movies I think you will enjoy this one. An author who hasn’t been home in years goes home to clean out his mother’s house after she dies. He learns things about his parents that he never knew. And of course a it involves a love story. A clean romance read.
I read a Debbie Macomber book last month and thought it was okay, but not my favorite. Almost Paradise, published in 2018, fits that same category. I needed a light read or two to jump start my reading again, and this one was just that. It was an easy read that I read in a day. I know why people love Debbie Macomber books. Overall, they are clean fun romance reads. They are just a bit predictable for me. This one was also a clean romance, but wow there was a lot of romance. I wanted more story and less kissing.
Hetty by Charles Slack, was published in 2004. It is the true story of America’s First Female Tycoon. Hetty was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1834. Long before modern female millionaires, Hetty conquered a world dominated by men to become America’s wealthiest woman. This was a fascinating well-written read. I knew nothing about Hetty Green. If you enjoy unique history and biographies, this is a great read.
In Christmas At Holiday House, a widow and her son find love and happiness in an unexpected a place. It is a story of love, Colorado, snow, and Christmas. It was a very fun Hallmark movie type read. It was fairly clean but had a couple of PG-13 scenes in it.
If you love the old t.v. show Murder She Wrote, I think you will enjoy the book A Fatal Feast. The books are actually based on the t.v., so the books came after the show. I really enjoyed this fun mystery read. It really does read a lot like the show. You feel like you are in Cabot Cove. This mystery involves Thanksgiving dinner, both at a community dinner and at Jessica’s house.
I picked up The Sunday Philosophy Club and two other books in the series at a used book store. It looked like an interesting mystery series set in Scotland. I enjoyed this book but didn’t love it. I have realized that I love mystery books, but I prefer ones that are not about modern times. This book was written in 2004, so it isn’t about current times, but it is about more modern times than I usually read in mystery books. I might give the second book a try, but I am not sure.
Each Shining Hour is the second book in the Watervalley series. This series is great for those that love the Mitford series. I read the first book in the series earlier this year and was excited to read the second book in the series. The series is about a big city doctor who moves to a small town in the country because the town has offered to pay off his college debt. What the doctor doesn’t realize is how much the town will change him and how much we will grow to love Watervalley and the people that live there. Each Shining Hour continues the story of the doctor. This time he is finding love, finding his place in the community, and solving a mystery that no one else in Watervalley has been able to solve.
The Spy and the Traitor is the best narrative nonfiction book that I have read in a long time. It involves Russia, Britain, and The U.S. during the cold war. Add in spies, double agents, the KGB, MI6, and the CIA, and you have a book that is hard to put down. I loved this book. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but once I did, I could not put this one down. I read it in just a couple of days.
I have read several Christmas books by Richard Paul Evans and although I enjoyed The Christmas Box, it is not my favorite Richard Paul Evans book.
I saw the book Gypsy Smith on a list of must read Christian biographies. I love to read biographies and autobiographies and had never heard of this book, so I decided to read it. It is an autobiography so it is written by Rodney “Gypsy” Smith. It was an interesting read about Rodney Smith, who became a Christian in the late 1800s. It contains a lot of information about this group of people that I found interesting because I knew very little about that life. That being said this is not the best-written book. I struggled to get through it at some points and skimmed a couple of sections. In spots, it feels more like reading a journal than it does a book, especially the second half of the book. I am glad I read it, but I would not consider it a must read Christian book.
I know that the “term” Gypsy is now often seen as offensive; however, the book actually refers to the group of people as that, and it really was Rodney Smith’s nickname. This book was written in the early 1900s, so it was a different culture and time period. However, history is important, and this book shares an important and interesting part of history that is beneficial to learn and read about even if it does use politically incorrect terms. This is just something to note if you plan on reading the book or wonder why we are sharing about it.
I have seen The Thursday Murder Club recommended all over social media and wanted to read it. I thought it was published in 2021, which would mean that it didn’t work for my blacklist book challenge for this year. So, when I discovered that it was actually published in 2020, I knew I wanted to read it, and I bought it right away to read. Most of the ebooks that I have are from ebook deals. This is actually one of the few ebooks that I have paid full price for. That is how much I wanted to read it. I loved this book! It was such a fun read.
Four friends that live in a retirement village meet once a week to solve mysteries. After the body of someone they know is found, they are determined to help solve the case. One of the reasons I love the book is the setting and the main characters. Most fiction books feature younger people, or at least people under forty. It was such a nice change to have a well written book feature a group of retired people. If you love mysteries, I think you will enjoy this one.
The Christmas Swap was a recent read for me. I wanted something quick and easy to read on a weekend afternoon and this was exactly that. Two families swap houses for Christmas vacation. This book totally reads like a Hallmark movie. It is a fun, light, Christmas read. If you like Hallmark movies you will probably enjoy this one.
The book A Most Beautiful Thing is about the first all black high school rowing team. It is a memoir written by one of the team members. This book shares the story of a group of black kids from Chicago who overcame the odds and became the first all black high school rowing team. It took hard work, discipline, mentors and coaches, and a desire to change their life. This book took me to the streets and schools of Chicago’s west side during the 1990s. That is a place I know very little about.
That is why I love memoirs. They take me to places and help me understand circumstances that I know nothing about. This book is a good read for those that love sports memoirs or memoirs about overcoming the odds. I will say that this is not the best written book that I have read, but that is often the case with memoirs. I would have loved to know more about the other people on the team. In other words, I think this would also make a great book if it was written by a journalist type writer, who wrote more about the whole team and more about the background of those that help make the team what it became. But overall this was a good read.
Have you ever waited to read a book because you wanted to savor it? To really be in the mood to read it so that you could truly enjoy it? I read both Hannah Coulter and Nathan Coulter a few years ago and loved them. I have had Jayber Crow in my to be read stack ever since, but the time hasn’t been right. Finally, last month it was. I was so glad to be back visiting Port William and the people that live there.
Jayber Crow was a slow quiet comfort read for me. It is about Jayber Crow, a barber in Port William. It follows his life from WWI to the 1960s. In following his life it also follows the lives of those around him. It shares the story of a community and how over the years it changes and yet also stays the same. I have heard people say that this is their favorite Port William book, I really enjoyed it, but I think I enjoyed Hannah Coulter even more. If you have read others in this series, I think you will enjoy this one. This series is great for fans of The At Home In Mitford books.